Con jobs are a lucrative staple of today’s crime culture but this one is unusual, even by South Florida standards: The victims of the con were convicts themselves: More than 20 inmates were duped into paying millions for bogus promises of reduced prison time, the Miami Herald reports. A trio of confidence artists from Texas pleaded guilty to pretending to use informants and law enforcement to help federal inmates in Miami-Dade County obtain credit for providing information on crimes so they could qualify for sentence reductions.
Relatives of at least 22 inmates paid out $4.4 million to the threesome: Alvin James Warrick, 40, and Colitha Patrice Bush, 36, both of Beaumont, who operated a company called Private Services, and Ronald Bennett Shepherd, 32, of Houston, the firm’s treasurer. Each of the three defendants pleaded guilty last month to a fraud conspiracy charge that carries up to 20 years in prison. None of their inmate clients ever provided any useful information or received shorter prison terms during the course of their scheme, which ran from 2009 to 2016.